Cliff Avril’s injury absence and Michael Bennett’s sore foot inspired the Seahawks to call for help ahead of having to chase Sunday the Houston Texans’ budding star QB, Deshaun Watson. Free agent DE Dwight Freeney, 37, answered, signing a one-year (half-year?) deal Tuesday night after passing a physical exam at team headquarters.
Freeney was an 11-year star for Indianapolis, making seven Pro Bowls. Since leaving the Colts after 2012, he played for the Chargers and Cardinals before joining the Falcons last year in their march to the Super Bowl. He helped Atlanta beat the Seahawks in the playoffs, and had a sack and seven hurries of Pats QB Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.
Freeney had contemplated retirement but made himself available for a 15th season. The Seahawks grew needy last week after putting Avril on the injured reserve list with a neck injury. In the big picture, the position was already a man down with the absence of Malik McDowell, the Seahawks’ first pick in the draft who had a severe concussion after an ATV accident in the summer.
Freeney will likely be used as a situational pass rusher, backing up Bennett, who has taken 84 percent of the snaps despite his foot problem. Frank Clark has taken over for Avril at the other end. Freeney will work with backups Marcus Smith, Quinton Jefferson and Branden Jackson.
Taken in the first round, 11th overall, from Syracuse in ther2002 draft, Freeney led the NFL in sacks in 2004 with 16, and his career total of 122.5 ranks 18th all time.